While the names Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are familiar with the general public, almost no one has heard the name Joanna Hoffman. Hoffman was one of the people who shaped Apple into the company that it is today. In the upcoming "Steve Jobs" film, Hoffman is Jobs' right-hand woman and one of the only people who stood up to the Apple genius in the early days of the company. She was one of the few people who were not affected by Jobs' ability to get people to believe what he wanted them to, otherwise known as what he called his, "reality distortion field."
People knew very little about Hoffman before the release of the film "Steve Jobs." Here are five things to know about Hoffman, one of the original members of the development teams for Macintosh and NeXT.
1. She studied physics and anthropology before she worked at Apple
Before Hoffman started working with Jobs at Apple, she studied physics and anthropology. Hoffman got a bachelor of science in humanities and science from MIT and pursued a doctorate in archeology at the University of Chicago. She did not finish her doctorate because she left to work for Apple in 1980.
2. She was the fifth person hired on the original Macintosh developer team
While Hoffman was studying at the University of Chicago, she attended a lecture at Xerox Oarc, where she met Jef Raskin, the man who put together the original Macintosh developer team at Apple. Raskin and Hoffman got into a heated debate at the conference about what computers should look like and how they should improve people's lives, according to Business Insider.
After their debate, Raskin was so impressed with Hoffman that he asked her to interview at Apple, where she became the fifth member of the Mac team in September 1980. At Apple, Hoffman was the only marketing person on the Mac team and wrote the first draft of the User Interface Guidelines for the Mac and defined the market that the product was intended for. Hoffman was the person who pitched the Mac to the higher education market before it became a hit with businesses.
"They really liked the product and lots of students bought them, so it really helped Mac into its transition before it discovered its niche in desktop publication and other applications which require graphics," Hoffman said in 2009.
Hoffman eventually became the international product marketing manager for Mac.
3. She is portrayed by Kate Winslet in the "Steve Jobs" movie
Academy Award winning actress Kate Winslet takes on the role of Hoffman in the upcoming Danny Boyle-directed "Steve Jobs" biopic. The film was written by acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and also stars Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogan and Jeff Daniels.
To prepare for her role as Hoffman, Winslet met with Hoffman several times in order to master a perfect impression of her, reported Entertainment Weekly.
"It was amazing meeting Joanna, and it was everything meeting Joanna," Winslet told EW at the New York Film Festival premiere of "Steve Jobs." "And I was very nervous about meeting her because I look nothing like her. I myself look absolutely nothing like Joanna Hoffman, and she looks nothing like me."
Winslet said that she came to understand the softer, gentler side of Jobs through her interaction with Hoffman.
"I loved spending time with her because she shared stories with me about her time with Steve and her relationship with Steve that a lot of people just don't know anything about," Winslet said.
4. She was never intimidated by Steve Jobs
While Hoffman's name is not known to the world like Job or Steve Wozniak, she was known for being one of the only people who had the guts to stand up to Jobs. During the early years of Apple, the Mac team would give out an annual award to the employee who stood up to Jobs the most. Hoffman won the prize for the first two years it was given out in 1981 and 1982, according to Makers.
"She was never intimidated by Steve Jobs," Winslet said of her "Steve Jobs" character Hoffman, The Wall Street Journal reported. "He didn't scare her. She just always saw him as an equal and found him to be quite a challenging person, only because she wanted him to be the best version of himself that he could possibly be."
5. She married Apple employee Alain Rossmann
Hoffman is married to Alain Rossmann, who was also a former member of the Mac team and is a longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur, according to Folklore.org, a collection of anecdotes about the development of Apple's original Macintosh and the people who made it.
Rossmann currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Secret Seal. He also founded Klip, Inc., and serves as its Chief Executive Officer, Bloomberg Business reported. For 15 years, he was the founder or co-founder of four other high technology startup companies, three of which went public and one was acquired by AT&T.
The couple has two children together and currently lives in Silicon Valley.
"Steve Jobs" opened in limited release on Oct. 9 and will open everywhere on Oct. 23.